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His parents, Iranian immi- grants, own an electronics manufacturing company that works with behemoths like Samsung. You had to speak up—nobody was afraid to call bullshit on something you said.

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He created two successive startups, one of which, a social media market- ing company called Adly that helps celebrities and infuencers monetize their brands, became a minor success Rad has since sold his stake in the business. One of the very first online dating platforms, Match popularized the concept of custom online profiles, which it used to, yes, match potential couples.

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  5. Three million users signed on by the end of Previously, such services had a bit of a stigma, but OkCupid—which, unlike predecessors, was free—suddenly made web dating cool. Now used by more than 5 million people in some. Only female users can initiate contact, giving women control of the process.

    A history of online hookups. As our work becomes more data-driven, design researchers can increasingly provide value by integrating data science and ethnographic methods to shape design. For instance, we recently partnered with the city of Seattle to help reduce youth homelessness. Based on this data, we were inspired to explore opportunities that would connect youth with resources using smartphones.

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    However, once we conducted qualitative research through interviews with homeless youth and local service providers, we learned that in isolation, mobile phones were not a viable medium for our design solution. The people we spoke with shared that they often had difficulty charging their phones, ran out of data, or had their phones stolen.

    By synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data, we designed a more accessible tool that leveraged relationships with existing local service providers — not the mobile-first solution that seemed obvious from statistical data at first glance. Get Engaged, Repeatedly Online dating platforms foster immersive interactions that engage their users. Dating apps provide a dazzling array of potential connections. They also make the act of exploring and choosing potential dates a satisfying and fun process swipe right, swipe left, anyone?

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    The presence of choice creates a perception of control, increasing enjoyment. Researchers have long engaged users through participatory methods like co-designing and cultural probes that invoke a sense of control. How might we make these research methods more immersive and engaging? In the near future, we will use it as an ethnographic tool to engage users and get their direct feedback in contextually relevant ways.

    Participants can virtually interact with a physician.

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    Instead of looking at blueprints or sketches of a waiting room, patients can walk through one in VR and modify its appearance and layout to suit their needs and preferences. These immersive experiences could provide design researchers with valuable insights that might not be readily apparent using more conventional research methods.

    Sites like eHarmony consistently advertise how a previously lonely person meets the love of his life once joining.

    Market researchers are also examining the average length of relationships that result from different dating apps. The research phase of design is crucial—it ensures that products address real human and business problems. Yet while designers can easily show their value through the products they create, design researchers have traditionally experienced more difficulty quantifying the value of our work.

    Like in online dating, capturing the right metrics as we conduct design research is imperative.